Sometimes I feel so old (as a 2nd degree nurse)

Nurses General Nursing


I graduated from nursing school at 44, and now am successful on a unit and turning 46. It's a med surg/tele floor, and I'm happy there, but definitely want to move on after my contract is up.

The problem is, I just DREAM of being in the ICU, but just feel, well, too old. The young girls just intimidate me, honestly. They are so young, smart, and full of energy. I am smart, but very busy and have a lot of responsibility at home w/ a still young family. I actually have a 7 year old special needs son who just wears the heck out of me, God love him. Also have a teenage son who always needs help with something or other.

How do I get over this? I really, really want to go on to a more professional atmosphere. The floor is fun, but there is a lot of goof off time, also -- and I just don't get into all the younger girls and all their chatter. I mean -- I'm just over it. I want to do ICU nursing, but fear my older brain won't be able to handle it. I do fine on my floor, but, honestly, things just do NOT come as fast to my middle age brain. And I just don't have endless hours at home to study up on my off days.

Has anyone else ever faced these feelings? I am a 2nd degree nurse myself. I just don't know what type of nursing really fits yet.

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

as an older nurse (older than you) i'd say come to the icu. i'd love to have some real peers i can talk to, because so many of these 20-somethings have little to say that i can relate to. it's all facebook, twitter and parties! i'm on facebook to monitor what the child is doing on line, and my idea of a party does not involve imbibing far too much etoh and taking some stranger home to bed. (my husband would have valid objections!)

i also relate to the 'more professional atmosphere' comment. i'd like to get through a whole shift without seeing someone co-worker's butt crack, inappropriate underwear, body peircing, new tattoo or facebook page. (god, i sound old, don't i!)

i bet many of those chickadees are intimidated by you ;). they have no idea that you just graduated...for all they know, you graduated years ago and have profound experience compared to them. so just keep it to yourself..and be confident. :D make their little knees quiver.haha jk

I also try to avoid that inner voice telling me i am getting to old and quit. I don't think I would of got any where if I listen to it. I have to many people (my kids) depending on me to make a better life for them. I have been divorced now for 12 years. My ex doesn't want anything to do with them. I only have 4 more school age children to raise. I want my children to see me finally accomplish something. I always felt that education was important in life. I want to show them that it is possible despite how diffcult life can be.

i also relate to the 'more professional atmosphere' comment. i'd like to get through a whole shift without seeing someone co-worker's butt crack, inappropriate underwear, body peircing, new tattoo or facebook page. (god, i sound old, don't i!)

omg i so feel your pain. i actually mentioned to a younger nurse that when she bent down you could see her bum crack. she could have cared less. of course next time i did it in a more official way (he he). i personally loved the one who wore bright red or black g-strings under white scrub bottoms. jeez

as for the op -- they would be lucky to have you in icu. people forget that just because you qualified as an rn later in life doesn't mean you sat on your hands before then. much can be said for maturity on the floors (in fact not enough).

Specializes in CCU & CTICU.

I've only worked ICU. I'd say about 70% of my coworkers are over 40. (& plenty don't look it! :heartbeat) Some have even recently switched from step-down units, OR, etc.

Oh, I'm not downing the younger nurses. In fact, I really, really enjoy working with them. But I also see younger nurses in the ICU's and THOSE are the ones who intimidate me. I feel that they are going to be so much faster and sharper than I am -- so I hesitate to try to get into their league.

It's not that the floor even bothers me -- I like it, and I just get a chuckle out of younger nurses -- but part of me also wants a really professional atmosphere where a lot is going on and I really, really have to critically think. Yes, we do that in med surg also, but then a lot of it, too, is filling water pitchers, adjusting straws, tissue boxes, pillows, etc.

I just see SHARP 23 year olds who headed into ICU out of my graduating class, who survived it and are doing great -- some of them charge nurses or PCD's already. A lot of them tell me they worked their asses off their first year in ICU and spent a lot of time studying outside of work, which I don't honestly have time to do always. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm afraid I can't compete with all that.

Anyway, thanks for all the helpful responses. It really helps. I'm still mulling where I want to go in nursing -- if I want to challenge myself or just do my easier job and go home to take care of my family. It's never an easy decision and I also dont' want to stress myself out too much as I am getting older.

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